Friday, May 31, 2013

How Bad Do You Want It?

Chris Newcomb, M.Div. 

I am very privileged to do the work I do every day for a living.  Working at a substance abuse detox center, for many people, would seem like a sentence in hell for all eternity.  True, there are 'hellish' elements to it: we see the broken, the downtrodden, the beaten and battered and bruised.  Most days, however, I see a glimpse of heaven.  Today was one of those days!

I spoke with a man whose addiction took him to incredible lows.  He was a professional man doing very well in his career.  He had a routine surgery and the doctors put him on pain pills during his recovery process.  He got hooked.  After that, his life became one big spiral crashing down to the ground.  However, like the phoenix rises from the ashes, this gentleman pulled himself up and out of the mire and muck of his addiction to start a brand new life.  My life is better for having heard his story today.  
While the specifics of his story are interesting, I'd rather focus on his overall attitude.  He has lived his life for over two years without excuses.  That is, he's been open to the process of recovery and made no excuses about it.   And his life has dramatically improved because of this crucial decision.  

So, as the title of the article asks, how bad do you want it?  How bad do you want to succeed  at recovery?  Do you want it with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength?  Do you, like the picture of the Asian man with no arms above, define yourself by your limitations or by your possibilities?  It's a certain way of thinking, believing and then doing.  

There is a reason why A.A. talks about 'acting your way into right thinking."  The reason is because you can't 'think your way into right acting'!  That's why I was so inspired by this man's efforts to fix himself with the help of a sober community around him.  He put all the cards on the table and double downed on behalf of his future.  

You can do the same!  No matter why you think you can't get clean...the reason is just an excuse.  Period.  Plain and simple.  It is an excuse.  The bottom line is this:  how bad do you want it?  Now go get it.  You deserve it more than you know!  

At The Coleman Institute, your sobriety is our priority.  We are here for you.  If you or someone you know is in need of detox from alcohol and/or drugs, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Letter to the Editor: A Patient Testimonial

People often ask if working at a substance abuse detox facility is depressing work.  Truth be told, it can be.  Truth also be told, it's usually not.  As a matter of fact, I always tell people that the people I work with day in and day out are the fun people they just forgot to leave the party and stayed too late.  While this usually generates laughter, I am, in fact, only half-kidding.  Our patients really are the fun people and unfortunately most of them did decided to stay at the party a little too long and now need help to find the door, so to speak! 

Recently, we received a letter from a former patient named Elizabeth*.  She was writing to tell us the good news that has happened in her life since she came to see us 3 years ago.  It turns out that she just celebrated 3 years of sobriety!  We were so proud to learn of her awesome progress. 

Elizabeth came to our center as a very depressed and almost suicidal woman in her mid-forties.  Here husband of many years had recently passed away from a drug overdose and her grief was slowly killing her through her addiction to opiate pills.  At first, she was listless and uninterested in changing her life.  Slowly, however, during the course of the detox and several conversations, Elizabeth's attitude bgan to change. 

Fast forward to today:  Elizabeth now moved a few states away and is very happy.  She also met a man not too long after her move and is engaged to be married now.  Her life keeps getting better because of her commitment to abstinence, aftercare and recovery.  In fact, she would say that her sobriety is the sole reason why her life just keeps getting better.  We agree!

At The Coleman Institute, we're here for you.  We're cheering you on from the bleachers.  If you're ready to get in the game of recovery, please call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.  

*Name changed to protect anonymity and confidentiality

Aftercare: Not Just a Suggestion

Chris Newcomb, M.Div

Growing up as a young lad, I went to private Catholic Parochial School.  I remember having a nun who taught 4th grade.   One day when we were learning the '10 Commandments', a student asked why they had to follow the Ten Commandments.  I will never forget the nun's response, "Because Johnny, they are called the 10 Commandments for a reason.  That is why they are not called the '10 Suggestions'!"  Johnny didn't like that answer.  Like Johnny, many of use don't like to be told what to do.  However, sometimes, it's the best thing for us!

Regardless of religious or non-religious persuasion, we can borrow a lesson from this true story.  There are suggestions and there are requirements in life.  In addiction treatment, aftercare is a requirement.  It is not an option!

Aftercare is important for several reasons.  First, addiction is both a mental and physical disease.  Once the physical addiction to the drug or alcohol of choice has been broken via detox, patients must begin the hard work of dealing with the emotions and thoughts that have caused them to use in the past.  This is a lot like learning to walk for the first time.  People have to learn how to maintain balance while moving forward at the same time.  This takes practice. 

Second, aftercare helps addicts and alcoholics learn about the way the disease tries to lure them back into using through defense mechanisms like denial, rationalization, justification, blame-shifting and so on.  These mental self-defense techniques are very strong and often ingrained in an addict's thinking, which is why aftercare is so important.  As the A.A. saying goes, "An alcoholic stuck in their own head is in a very dangerous neighborhood!" 

Last, people don't become addicted overnight usually.  They work at it through continued use and a tolerance that continues to rise and requires more and more of the drug to get the very little actual 'high' in return.  Likewise, recovery doesn't happen in a vacuum.  It takes time and effort to overcome one day at a time.

There are many things in life that are required: aftercare is one of them.  At The Coleman Institute, we are committed to connecting our patients with the appropriate level of aftercare treatment giving them the best chance at a happy, successful recovery.  If you or someone you love is need of detox and aftercare, please call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.  

6 Signs of Codpendency and Addiction

Chris Newcomb, M.Div. 

  1. You don’t think you are codependent to an addict or alcoholic.  Seriously, this is usually a sign that you are.  Adjust accordingly!
  2. You spend the majority of your time worrying about what the addict/alcoholic is doing with their time.  
  3. You have spent, continue to spend, and plan on spending money to either help the addict/alcoholic continue their use or to continue rehab efforts.  
  4. You make excuses for the addict/alcoholic’s behavior by rationalizing, minimizing, and blame-shifting his or her behavior instead of placing the blame where it appropriately deserves to be: at the feet of the addict.
  5. You believe if you try a little harder you will fix the addict/alcohol and everything will be ok.
  6. You believe that it is not the addict/alcoholic’s fault that they use alcohol and/or drugs.   
The truth is that this article may annoy you because you feel like the author just doesn’t understand how hard it is when you love an addict/alcoholic whether they are a family member, friend, or significant other.  This is a common feeling when someone starts talking about codependency.  The reality is that it is very difficult to be the sober person in a relationship with an addict/alcoholic.  However, there is always another choice to make instead of using drugs and alcohol no matter what the addict says or believes.  

At The Coleman Institute, we care for both the addict/alcoholic as well as those who support their return to good health.  We are here to help in any way we can.  For detox questions , please call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.  If you any questions about aftercare as a support person, you may call Chris Newcomb at 804-353-1230 Ext. 311

Thursday, May 23, 2013

5 Ways to Break Through to the Other Side

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

"Break on through to the other side, break on through to the other side!"  Famous words sang by the late Jim Morrison of The Doors still played on radio stations across the globe today.  The 'other side', of course, is up for debate as to what exactly Mr. Morrison et. al. were talking about.  For the purposes of this article, the 'other side' will mean, "the opposite side of a problem, that is, the side wherein the solution is discovered, implemented, and success occurs."

Unfortunately, Jim Morrison's death has never been solved.  Recently, one close friend of Morrison's suggested that he did not die of natural causes rather he never broke through to the other side of addiction to abstinence and recovery from heroin.  He was only 27 when he died.

I have created what I call  "The D.i.P.³ Method" as a fun way to remember how to break through to the other side of your problems.  It is very simple and is comprised of 5 easy steps that can be repeated until success occurs and the other side approaches.  Here they are: (note: application of these 5 principles may cause success and feelings of elation.  Use often with reckless abandon!)

 The D.i.P.³ Method
1. Dream - You must create a vision or dream of what you want to accomplish in your head and let it marinate in both your head and your heart until you believe it in your bones.  Example: "I am clean from all drugs and alcohol."  "I take care of myself everyday."
2.  Instruct - Tell yourself your vision or dream every day...multiple times a day!  Repetition is the mother of learning.  It's also the mother of dream achievement.  Example: Tell yourself a mantra such as "I am committed to sobriety today."  "I am committed to my total health today."
3.  Push - Fight the resistance.  It will get tough.  Punch back.  Don't forget to block.  Bloody noses don't feel good.  "It matters what I do, not how I feel!"  "This too shall pass!"  "I can do whatever I put my mind to!"
4.  Pull - If pushing doesn't work, try pulling.  Think outside of the box.  Look for new perspectives, resources, and supplies to achieve your objective.  "I am a winner!"  "I am unstoppable!"  "I am resilient!"
5.  Prod - Continue to incite yourself to action until the dream is achieved.  Don't quit!  If you do, you lose.  If you press on, winning is worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.  Just ask the band of the same name!  ;)  "Nothing can stop me from success!"  "I deserve all the success in the world!"

 In recovery from substance abuse, you can utilize this method to help you stay clean.  Combine this with time-honored resources such as A.A/N.A., counselors, treatment centers, and other professional settings and you have a recipe for smoother sailing.  The waters of life can be choppy but you can adapt and change with the shifting tides while staying dry in your boat as you float along one day at a time.

At The Coleman Institute, we always care about you!  You are the most important person to us and it is a privilege to help you get clean and stay clean from drugs and alcohol.  Should you find you need our services, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869).  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

10 Warning Signs That You Might Need Substance Abuse Detox

Chris Newcomb, M.Div. 
    1. You frequently you feel as if you are different.  You feel and believe that drugs and alcohol make you feel “normal.”
    2. You have developed "tolerance" which means that you need more of the drug or alcohol than you used to in order to get the same effect as when you first started using. 
    3. You isolate from friends and family so you can use alcohol and drugs all alone without their interference ruining your fun.
    4. You have had negative legal, academic, work, relational, and/or financial consequences such as DUI's, lost jobs, poor grades, destroyed relationships, or arrests due to alcohol and/or drug addiction.
    5. You have tried to quit many times but can only do so for short periods of time and then you return to using again. 
    6. You lie to hide your alcohol and drub abuse.
    7. Your actions have deteriorated over time.  You now do things that you never would have dreamed of doing to support your alcohol or drug addiction such as stealing, prostitution, and even violence. 
    8. You had a good circle of sober friends that has eroded because you have been focusing on strengthening relationships with friends who abuse drugs or alcohol.
    9. You have lost interest in your physical appearance because of your drug and alcohol abuse.
    10. You are preoccupied with thoughts around when you can use drugs and how you will get the next high much of the time. 
If you relate to any of these signs, now is the time to find the right treatment option to help you reclaim your life and be free of all illicit substances.

At The Coleman Institute, we are always here for you.  We provide help, hope, and healing to those who need to be detoxed because of their substance abuse.  If you find it's time to do something different with your life, give Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart a call at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869).    Relief is available if you decide you want it. We'd be happy to help you! 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Don't Ever...

Don't ever forget the truths listed above!  Today's article is short and sweet.  Recovery is a whole-person healing process.  The statements above remind us to take care of ourselves in every way.  Take this to heart.  It will serve you well in your recovery.  This weekend spend some time reading and reflecting on these ideas and how you can apply them to your life.  Positive input helps create positive outpoint which, in turn, helps you create the positive life you want! 

At The Coleman Institute, don't ever worry about being judged or misunderstood by us.  We are always here for you.  Our desire is to help you bring change to your life by getting clean and staying clean from drugs and/or alcohol.     Should you find that you need our services, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869).  

- Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What if Opporunity Doesn't Knock?!?

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

You've probably heard the famous saying that 'Opportunity Knocks' before this column.  It's an old adage and many times it is very true.  That is, 'opportunity' shows up or 'knocks' in the form of a phone call, an email, or a letter when we least expect it.  New jobs have been obtained by answering opportunity's knocking.  Dates and subsequent marriages have occured because someone was listening for the faint knocking of opportunity's knuckles of their door of life.  What if, however, opportunity doesn't knock? 

This is a great question.  We often wonder whether life is a series of random experiences or if the universe is run by a Divine Being(s) or if we are just floating on a random rock in a big universe with no rhyme or reason.  Sometimes, this is not a pleasant question to answer because the answers are not always obvious.  However, one thing we can consider that does make sense: personal application. 

As I said before, sometimes, opportunity knocks.  However, sometimes opportunity doesn't know to knock and we need to build it a door to knock on.  That is, you can influence your future by your actions.  But change really starts before that.  It begins with your thoughts.  Your thoughts become your actions.  Your actions shape your present and your future.  And sometimes, you have to build the door on which opportunity can knock it's proverbial knuckles. 

How do you do that?  Glad you asked.  Sometimes 'building a door' is in the form of preparation like weekly training for a marathon in the near future.  Other times, it involves studying a subject hard for 4 years in college so you can become a trial lawyer.  Still, it might include asking for help from someone to do for you what you cannot do for yourself.  This is how recovery works.

If you 'build the door' of recovery by asking for help, opportunity will come knocking.  It can't not happen.  It is the way things work.  When you ask for help, eventually, someone will help you.  And when they help you, the possibilities of your life will expand exponentially thus inviting opportunity to knock. 

Everyday, in our line of work, we hear the knock of opportunity daily.  As people submit themselves to the detox and rehabilitative process, we see and hear opportunity knocking change into lives that were formerly shattered.  It is a great sight to see!

At The Coleman Institute, we are always here for you.  Our desire is to help you bring change to your life by getting clean and staying clean from drugs and/or alcohol.   Should you find that you need our services, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869). 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

How Do I Ask for Help?

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Did the title of this blog article grab your attention?  Maybe you found it a bit stupid because the answer seems so obvious.  Perhaps it intrigued you because you wondered if it was a trick question.  

Truthfully, the title is neither.  It is not obvious how to ask for help because so many people fail to do it.  And, I can assure you dear reader, it is not a trick question.  Actually, it is a very important and vital question for everyone but especially for people who struggle with addiction!

If you want to know how to ask for help, the simple answer is: just ask!  The hardest part of that answer is: how?  Why is it hard?  Shame and embarassment are two emotional schoolyard bullies who will do anything to keep you from asking for help.  They shove you up against the wall of self-disdain.  They wrestle you onto the ground of self-loathing.  You kick and scream and bite and even cuss but they don't let go very easily.  

Most of us want to be able to beat things on our own.  This mindset is the primary reason we do not ask for help.  Then, we will be weak.  Then, we will be dependent.  Then, we will be imperfect.  And yes, even then, we will be truthful.  Because the fact of the matter is, every one is weak, dependent and imperfect.  Please realize, of course, that these descriptors do not equal other ones like awful, bad, and unlovable.  Since there are no all-powerful, perfect people, it can't be any other way.  And that is ok...if we ask for help.  

Do you ask for help when you need it?  Do you ask long before it's too late and you're up the proverbial creek without a paddle?  Have you ever felt the relief that comes when you humble yourself to ask someone to help you out?  If you haven't, I urge you to do it.  You'll be glad you did.  

We want you to know that at The Coleman Institute you are our pride and joy.  It is because of you that we exist: to help people get clean and stay clean from drugs and alcohol.  Should you find that you need our services, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869). 

Monday, May 6, 2013

What is Detox?

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Detox is an familiar yet unfamiliar term to many people.  For some, it conjures up images of a raw vegetable diet to cleanse the body.  They think of it as a 'nutritional reboot' to their system.  While there is a type of detox that involves nutrition, substance abuse detox is a very different thing altogether.  

To answer the question "what is detox?", we first need to understand why someone would want or need a detox in the first place.  Simply put, when people use substances at an abusive level, their bodies begin to pay the price.  Often times, they will try to stop on their own.  Usually, they fail!  

Therefore, when drug and alcohol use has gotten out of hand, it means that the body, mind, and spirit have become literally 'toxic'. defines 'toxic' this way, "of, pertaining to, affected with, or caused by a toxin or poison: a toxic condition."  It may seem fairly obvious that drugs and alcohol can be toxins to the body but every weekend in America many people find out the hard way!  

Since drugs and alcohol are toxins to the system, a person must recover from their effects.  This is the rub.  Addiction doesn't allow people to just quit, pack it up and go home.  No, it's like a jealous spouse that checks your cell phone, reads your email, and goes through your wallet making sure you stay faithful to them and no one else.  It's ultimate weapon of choice: withdrawal!  And what an effective weapon it is, keeping people trapped in the cycle of addiction day in and day out.   As Eric Clapton once said, "Addiction doesn't negotiate!"

 And that's exactly why people need detox!  They can't do it on their own.  The symptoms are just too strong!  The pull is just too much!  The pain is overwhelming! 

At The Coleman Institute, our suite of detox treatments remove the poisonous toxins of excessive drugs and alcohol from a person's system in a safe, effective, outpatient environment so that health and vitality can be restored.  Our highly trained medical staff make sure that each detox is handled with care and compassion during the detox process. It's a privilege to be able to help our patients become renewed and restored!

Furthermore, care does not end there.  We are committed to helping you stay clean with an aftercare plan that is individualized just for you and your needs.  Time and again, we have seen that the combination of our highly successful detox process followed by consistent and appropriate aftercare leads to a happy and healthy recovery journey. 

Always know that at The Coleman Institute, we're here when you need us.  If you or someone you love has an addiction, we would love to help you heal.  Please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869)


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Who Needs Detox?

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

"I tried to beat this thing cold turkey," he said with a tired rasp in his voice.  I had heard the sentiment a thousand times before from other brave yet addicted people who came to our clinic to get off drugs and/or alcohol.  He continued, "It was like, the withdrawal symptoms were just too much.  I felt like I was dying.  In fact, dying almost seemed better than having to go through all that pain like diarrhea, cold sweats, hot flashes, restless and cramped legs, vomiting, and really high anxiety.  I felt like I was going to come out of my skin!"  I nodded my head trying to convey a sense of compassion and empathy.  It's very hard to watch such suffering.  

Ever felt that way?  I sincerely hope not!  Withdrawal from alcohol and/or drug addiction is brutal for most people.  On average, it takes 7-10 days for a person to completely withdraw from their substance of choice.  Unfortunately, on average, most people "cave", that is, go back to their drug of choice, around Day 3 to Day 5.  Of course, there are always outliers but they are the exception not the rule.  

Perhaps you've been there or you are there again.  Maybe you've tried valiantly to get off that stupid drug you hate so much and keep failing no matter how hard you try.  I have good news:  it's not because you're weak.  It's because the drug or drink is that strong!  

Who needs detox?  Anyone who is tired of being a slave to drugs who can't quit cold turkey.  Who needs detox?  Anyone who is tired of having to drink to start their day or to go to sleep at night or to get through that next meeting with your boss.  

Give up.  Ask for help.  You'll be so glad you did.  You deserve it.  The drugs and alcohol don't deserve you!   

Always know that at The Coleman Institute, we're here when you need us.  If you or someone you love has an addiction, we would love to help you heal.  Please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869